Issam A. Awad, M.D.

Issam A. Awad, M.D.

Issam A. Awad, M.D.


Personal Bio

Treatment Philosophy

I practice multidiciplinary coordination of care with latest technology, evidence-based standards and individualized consideration of options. I strive to provide my patients with access to innovative interventions and clinical trials.

Conditions & Procedures


Arterio-Venous Malformation (AVM), Brain Tumor, Cavernous Angioma, Cerebral Aneurysms, Skull Base Tumors, Stroke, Vascular Malformations


Carotid Artery Stenting, Stereotactic Radiosurgery

General Information




Independent Practitioner


Neuro Critical Care, Neurovascular Surgery


Arabic, English, French

Board Certified

Neurological Surgery

Clinical Service

Education, Training & Fellowships

Medical School

Loma Linda University, 1980


Loma Linda University, 1981


Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 1985


Barrow Neurological Institute, 1986



5841 S. Maryland Ave.
MC3026/Room J341
Chicago, IL 60637
773.702.3518 fax
Get Directions This location is wheelchair accessible.


For information on the insurance plans this provider accepts:
  • Call: 773.702.2123


  • Surgical Performance in Minimally Invasive Surgery Plus Recombinant Tissue Plasminogen Activator for Intracerebral Hemorrhage Evacuation Phase III Clinical Trial.

    Neurosurgery 2017 Apr 10

    Authors: Fam MD, Hanley D, Stadnik A, Zeineddine HA, Girard R, Jesselson M, Cao Y, Money L, McBee N, Bistran-Hall AJ, Mould WA, Lane K, Camarata PJ, Zuccarello M, Awad IA
    Minimally invasive thrombolytic evacuation of intracerebral hematoma is being investigated in the ongoing phase III clinical trial of Minimally Invasive Surgery plus recombinant Tissue plasminogen activator for Intracerebral hemorrhage Evacuation (MISTIE III).
    To assess the accuracy of catheter placement and efficacy of hematoma evacuation in relation to surgical approach and surgeon experience.
    We performed a trial midpoint interim assessment of 123 cases that underwent the surgical procedure. Accuracy of catheter placement was prospectively assessed by the trial Surgical Center based on prearticulated criteria. Hematoma evacuation efficacy was evaluated based on absolute volume reduction, percentage hematoma evacuation, and reaching the target end-of-treatment volume of <15 mL. One of 3 surgical trajectories was used: anterior (A), posterior (B), and lobar (C). Surgeons were classified based on experience with the MISTIE procedure as prequalified, qualified with probation, and fully qualified.
    The average hematoma volume was 49.7 mL (range 20.0-124), and the mean evacuation rate was 71% (range 18.4%-99.8%). First placed catheters were 58% in good position, 28% suboptimal (but suitable to dose), and 14% poor (requiring repositioning). Posterior trajectory (B) was associated with significantly higher rates of poor placement (35%, P = .01). There was no significant difference in catheter placement accuracy among surgeons of varying experience. Hematoma evacuation efficacy was not significantly different among the 3 surgical approaches or different surgeons' experience.
    Ongoing surgical education and quality monitoring in MISTIE III have resulted in consistent rates of hematoma evacuation despite technical challenges with the surgical approaches and among surgeons of varying experience.
    PMID: 28402516 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Demographic Risk Factors for Vascular Lesions as Etiology of Intraventricular Hemorrhage in Prospectively Screened Cases.

    Cerebrovascular diseases (Basel, Switzerland) 2017 Feb 28

    Authors: Fam MD, Pang A, Zeineddine HA, Mayo S, Stadnik A, Jesselson M, Zhang L, Dlugash R, Ziai W, Hanley D, Awad IA, CLEAR III Trial Investigators
    Spontaneous intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality despite critical care and other advances. An important step in clinical management is to confirm/rule out an underlying vascular lesion, which influences further treatment, potential for further bleeding, and prognosis. Our aim is to compare demographic and clinical characteristics between IVH patients with and without an underlying vascular lesion, and among cohorts with different vascular lesions.
    We analyzed prospectively collected data of IVH patients screened for eligibility as part of the Clot Lysis: Evaluation Accelerated Resolution of IVH Phase III (CLEAR III) clinical trial. The trial adopted a structured screening process to systematically exclude patients with an underlying vascular lesion as the etiology of IVH. We collected age, sex, ethnicity, and primary diagnosis on these cases and vascular lesions were categorized prospectively as aneurysm, vascular malformation (arteriovenous malformation, dural arteriovenous fistula, and cavernoma), Moyamoya disease, or other vascular lesion. We excluded cases <18 or >80 years of age. Baseline characteristics were compared between the CLEAR group (IVH screened without vascular lesion) and the group of IVH patients screened and excluded from CLEAR because of an identified vascular lesion. We further analyzed the differential demographic and clinical characteristics among subcohorts with different vascular lesions.
    A total of 10,538 consecutive IVH cases were prospectively screened for the trial between 2011 and 2015. Out of these, 496 cases (4.7%) screened negative for underlying vascular lesion, met the inclusion criteria, and were enrolled in the trial (no vascular etiology group); and 1,205 cases (11.4%) were concurrently screened and excluded from the trial because of a demonstrated underlying vascular lesion (vascular etiology group). Cases with vascular lesion were less likely to be >45 years of age (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.20-0.40), African-American (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.18-0.31), or male gender (OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.38-0.60), and more likely to present with primary IVH (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.37-2.51) compared to those with no vascular etiology (p < 0.001). Other demographic factors were associated with specific vascular lesion etiologies. A combination of demographic features increases the association with the absence of vascular lesion, but not with absolute reliability (OR 0.1, 95% CI 0.06-0.17, p < 0.001).
    An underlying vascular lesion as etiology of IVH cannot be excluded solely by demographic parameters in any patient. Some form of vascular imaging is necessary in screening patients before contemplating interventions like intraventricular fibrinolysis, where safety may be impacted by the presence of vascular lesion.
    PMID: 28245439 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Thrombolytic removal of intraventricular haemorrhage in treatment of severe stroke: results of the randomised, multicentre, multiregion, placebo-controlled CLEAR III trial.

    Lancet (London, England) 2017 Feb 11

    Authors: Hanley DF, Lane K, McBee N, Ziai W, Tuhrim S, Lees KR, Dawson J, Gandhi D, Ullman N, Mould WA, Mayo SW, Mendelow AD, Gregson B, Butcher K, Vespa P, Wright DW, Kase CS, Carhuapoma JR, Keyl PM, Diener-West M, Muschelli J, Betz JF, Thompson CB, Sugar EA, Yenokyan G, Janis S, John S, Harnof S, Lopez GA, Aldrich EF, Harrigan MR, Ansari S, Jallo J, Caron JL, LeDoux D, Adeoye O, Zuccarello M, Adams HP
    Intraventricular haemorrhage is a subtype of intracerebral haemorrhage, with 50% mortality and serious disability for survivors. We aimed to test whether attempting to remove intraventricular haemorrhage with alteplase versus saline irrigation improved functional outcome.
    In this randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, multiregional trial (CLEAR III), participants with a routinely placed extraventricular drain, in the intensive care unit with stable, non-traumatic intracerebral haemorrhage volume less than 30 mL, intraventricular haemorrhage obstructing the 3rd or 4th ventricles, and no underlying pathology were adaptively randomly assigned (1:1), via a web-based system to receive up to 12 doses, 8 h apart of 1 mg of alteplase or 0·9% saline via the extraventricular drain. The treating physician, clinical research staff, and participants were masked to treatment assignment. CT scans were obtained every 24 h throughout dosing. The primary efficacy outcome was good functional outcome, defined as a modified Rankin Scale score (mRS) of 3 or less at 180 days per central adjudication by blinded evaluators. This study is registered with, NCT00784134.
    Between Sept 18, 2009, and Jan 13, 2015, 500 patients were randomised: 249 to the alteplase group and 251 to the saline group. 180-day follow-up data were available for analysis from 246 of 249 participants in the alteplase group and 245 of 251 participants in the placebo group. The primary efficacy outcome was similar in each group (good outcome in alteplase group 48% vs saline 45%; risk ratio [RR] 1·06 [95% CI 0·88-1·28; p=0·554]). A difference of 3·5% (RR 1·08 [95% CI 0·90-1·29], p=0·420) was found after adjustment for intraventricular haemorrhage size and thalamic intracerebral haemorrhage. At 180 days, the treatment group had lower case fatality (46 [18%] vs saline 73 [29%], hazard ratio 0·60 [95% CI 0·41-0·86], p=0·006), but a greater proportion with mRS 5 (42 [17%] vs 21 [9%]; RR 1·99 [95% CI 1·22-3·26], p=0·007). Ventriculitis (17 [7%] alteplase vs 31 [12%] saline; RR 0·55 [95% CI 0·31-0·97], p=0·048) and serious adverse events (114 [46%] alteplase vs 151 [60%] saline; RR 0·76 [95% CI 0·64-0·90], p=0·002) were less frequent with alteplase treatment. Symptomatic bleeding (six [2%] in the alteplase group vs five [2%] in the saline group; RR 1·21 [95% CI 0·37-3·91], p=0·771) was similar.
    In patients with intraventricular haemorrhage and a routine extraventricular drain, irrigation with alteplase did not substantially improve functional outcomes at the mRS 3 cutoff compared with irrigation with saline. Protocol-based use of alteplase with extraventricular drain seems safe. Future investigation is needed to determine whether a greater frequency of complete intraventricular haemorrhage removal via alteplase produces gains in functional status.
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
    PMID: 28081952 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • RhoA Kinase Inhibition With Fasudil Versus Simvastatin in Murine Models of Cerebral Cavernous Malformations.

    Stroke 2017 Jan

    Authors: Shenkar R, Shi C, Austin C, Moore T, Lightle R, Cao Y, Zhang L, Wu M, Zeineddine HA, Girard R, McDonald DA, Rorrer A, Gallione C, Pytel P, Liao JK, Marchuk DA, Awad IA
    We sought to compare the effect of chronic treatment with commonly tolerated doses of Fasudil, a specific RhoA kinase (ROCK) inhibitor, and simvastatin (with pleiotropic effects including ROCK inhibition) on cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) genesis and maturation in 2 models that recapitulate the human disease.
    Two heterozygous murine models, Ccm1(+/-)Msh2(-)(/-) and Ccm2(+/-)Trp53(-/-), were treated from weaning to 4 to 5 months of age with Fasudil (100 mg/kg per day), simvastatin (40 mg/kg per day) or with placebo. Mouse brains were blindly assessed for CCM lesion burden, nonheme iron deposition (as a quantitative measure of chronic lesional hemorrhage), and ROCK activity.
    Fasudil, but not simvastatin, significantly decreased mature CCM lesion burden in Ccm1(+/-)Msh2(-/-) mice, and in meta-analysis of both models combined, when compared with mice receiving placebo. Fasudil and simvastatin both significantly decreased the integrated iron density per mature lesion area in Ccm1(+/-)Msh2(-/-) mice, and in both models combined, compared with mice given placebo. ROCK activity in mature lesions of Ccm1(+/-)Msh2(-/-) mice was similar with both treatments. Fasudil, but not simvastatin, improved survival in Ccm1(+/-)Msh2(-/-) mice. Fasudil and simvastatin treatment did not affect survival or lesion development significantly in Ccm2(+/-)Trp53(-/-) mice alone, and Fasudil benefit seemed limited to males.
    ROCK inhibitor Fasudil was more efficacious than simvastatin in improving survival and blunting the development of mature CCM lesions. Both drugs significantly decreased chronic hemorrhage in CCM lesions. These findings justify the development of ROCK inhibitors and the clinical testing of commonly used statin agents in CCM.
    PMID: 27879448 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Safety and efficacy of minimally invasive surgery plus alteplase in intracerebral haemorrhage evacuation (MISTIE): a randomised, controlled, open-label, phase 2 trial.

    The Lancet. Neurology 2016 Nov

    Authors: Hanley DF, Thompson RE, Muschelli J, Rosenblum M, McBee N, Lane K, Bistran-Hall AJ, Mayo SW, Keyl P, Gandhi D, Morgan TC, Ullman N, Mould WA, Carhuapoma JR, Kase C, Ziai W, Thompson CB, Yenokyan G, Huang E, Broaddus WC, Graham RS, Aldrich EF, Dodd R, Wijman C, Caron JL, Huang J, Camarata P, Mendelow AD, Gregson B, Janis S, Vespa P, Martin N, Awad I, Zuccarello M, MISTIE Investigators
    Craniotomy, according to the results from trials, does not improve functional outcome after intracerebral haemorrhage. Whether minimally invasive catheter evacuation followed by thrombolysis for clot removal is safe and can achieve a good functional outcome is not known. We investigated the safety and efficacy of alteplase, a recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, in combination with minimally invasive surgery (MIS) in patients with intracerebral haemorrhage.
    MISTIE was an open-label, phase 2 trial that was done in 26 hospitals in the USA, Canada, the UK, and Germany. We used a computer-generated allocation sequence with a block size of four to centrally randomise patients aged 18-80 years with a non-traumatic (spontaneous) intracerebral haemorrhage of 20 mL or higher to standard medical care or image-guided MIS plus alteplase (0·3 mg or 1·0 mg every 8 h for up to nine doses) to remove clots using surgical aspiration followed by alteplase clot irrigation. Primary outcomes were all safety outcomes: 30 day mortality, 7 day procedure-related mortality, 72 h symptomatic bleeding, and 30 day brain infections. This trial is registered with, number NCT00224770.
    Between Feb 2, 2006, and April 8, 2013, 96 patients were randomly allocated and completed follow-up: 54 (56%) in the MIS plus alteplase group and 42 (44%) in the standard medical care group. The primary outcomes did not differ between the standard medical care and MIS plus alteplase groups: 30 day mortality (four [9·5%, 95% CI 2·7-22.6] vs eight [14·8%, 6·6-27·1], p=0·542), 7 day mortality (zero [0%, 0-8·4] vs one [1·9%, 0·1-9·9], p=0·562), symptomatic bleeding (one [2·4%, 0·1-12·6] vs five [9·3%, 3·1-20·3], p=0·226), and brain bacterial infections (one [2·4%, 0·1-12·6] vs zero [0%, 0-6·6], p=0·438). Asymptomatic haemorrhages were more common in the MIS plus alteplase group than in the standard medical care group (12 [22·2%; 95% CI 12·0-35·6] vs three [7·1%; 1·5-19·5]; p=0·051).
    MIS plus alteplase seems to be safe in patients with intracerebral haemorrhage, but increased asymptomatic bleeding is a major cautionary finding. These results, if replicable, could lead to the addition of surgical management as a therapeutic strategy for intracerebral haemorrhage.
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Genentech, and Codman.
    PMID: 27751554 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Vascular permeability and iron deposition biomarkers in longitudinal follow-up of cerebral cavernous malformations.

    Journal of neurosurgery 2016 Aug 05

    Authors: Girard R, Fam MD, Zeineddine HA, Tan H, Mikati AG, Shi C, Jesselson M, Shenkar R, Wu M, Cao Y, Hobson N, Larsson HB
    OBJECTIVE Vascular permeability and iron leakage are central features of cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) pathogenesis. The authors aimed to correlate prospective clinical behavior of CCM lesions with longitudinal changes in biomarkers of dynamic contrast-enhanced quantitative permeability (DCEQP) and quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) assessed by MRI. METHODS Forty-six patients with CCMs underwent 2 or more permeability and/or susceptibility studies in conjunction with baseline and follow-up imaging and clinical surveillance during a mean 12.05 months of follow-up (range 2.4-31.27 months). Based on clinical and imaging features, cases/lesions were classified as stable, unstable, or recovering. Associated and predictive changes in quantitative permeability and susceptibility were investigated. RESULTS Lesional mean permeability and QSM values were not significantly different in stable versus unstable lesions at baseline. Mean lesional permeability in unstable CCMs with lesional bleeding or growth increased significantly (+85.9% change; p = 0.005), while mean permeability in stable and recovering lesions did not significantly change. Mean lesional QSM values significantly increased in unstable lesions (+44.1% change; p = 0.01), decreased slightly with statistical significance in stable lesions (-3.2% change; p = 0.003), and did not significantly change in recovering lesions. Familial cases developing new lesions during the follow-up period showed a higher background brain permeability at baseline (p = 0.001), as well as higher regional permeability (p = 0.003) in the area that would later develop a new lesion as compared with the homologous contralateral brain region. CONCLUSIONS In vivo assessment of vascular permeability and iron deposition on MRI can serve as objective and quantifiable biomarkers of disease activity in CCMs. This may be applied in natural history studies and may help calibrate clinical trials. The 2 techniques are likely applicable in other disorders of vascular integrity and iron leakage such as aging, hemorrhagic microangiopathy, and traumatic brain injury.
    PMID: 27494817 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Micro-computed tomography in murine models of cerebral cavernous malformations as a paradigm for brain disease.

    Journal of neuroscience methods 2016 Sep 15

    Authors: Girard R, Zeineddine HA, Orsbon C, Tan H, Moore T, Hobson N, Shenkar R, Lightle R, Shi C, Fam MD, Cao Y, Shen L, Neander AI, Rorrer A, Gallione C, Tang AT, Kahn ML, Marchuk DA, Luo ZX, Awad IA
    Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are hemorrhagic brain lesions, where murine models allow major mechanistic discoveries, ushering genetic manipulations and preclinical assessment of therapies. Histology for lesion counting and morphometry is essential yet tedious and time consuming. We herein describe the application and validations of X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), a non-destructive technique allowing three-dimensional CCM lesion count and volumetric measurements, in transgenic murine brains.
    We hereby describe a new contrast soaking technique not previously applied to murine models of CCM disease. Volumetric segmentation and image processing paradigm allowed for histologic correlations and quantitative validations not previously reported with the micro-CT technique in brain vascular disease.
    Twenty-two hyper-dense areas on micro-CT images, identified as CCM lesions, were matched by histology. The inter-rater reliability analysis showed strong consistency in the CCM lesion identification and staging (K=0.89, p<0.0001) between the two techniques. Micro-CT revealed a 29% greater CCM lesion detection efficiency, and 80% improved time efficiency.
    Serial integrated lesional area by histology showed a strong positive correlation with micro-CT estimated volume (r(2)=0.84, p<0.0001).
    Micro-CT allows high throughput assessment of lesion count and volume in pre-clinical murine models of CCM. This approach complements histology with improved accuracy and efficiency, and can be applied for lesion burden assessment in other brain diseases.
    PMID: 27345427 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Corrigendum: Cerebral cavernous malformations arise from endothelial gain of MEKK3-KLF2/4 signalling.

    Nature 2016 08 25

    Authors: Shi C
    Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are relatively common vascular malformations, characterized by increased Rho kinase (ROCK) activity, vascular hyper-permeability and the presence of blood degradation products including non-heme iron. Previous studies revealed robust inflammatory cell infiltration, selective synthesis of IgG, in situ antigen driven B-cell clonal expansion, and deposition of immune complexes and complement proteins within CCM lesions. We aimed to evaluate the impact of suppressing the immune response on the formation and maturation of CCM lesions, as well as lesional iron deposition and ROCK activity. Two murine models of heterozygous Ccm3 (Pdcd10), which spontaneously develop CCM lesions with severe and milder phenotypes, were either untreated or received anti-mouse BR3 to deplete B cells. Brains from anti-mouse BR3-treated mice exhibited significantly fewer mature CCM lesions and smaller lesions compared to untreated mice. B cell depletion halted the progression of lesions into mature stage 2 lesions but did not prevent their genesis. Non-heme iron deposition and ROCK activity was decreased in lesions of B cell depleted mice. This represents the first report of the therapeutic benefit of B-cell depletion in the development and progression of CCMs, and provides a proof of principle that B cells play a critical role in CCM lesion genesis and maturation. These findings add biologics to the list of potential therapeutic agents for CCM disease. Future studies would characterize the putative antigenic trigger and further define the mechanism of immune response in the lesions.
    PMID: 27281211 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Cerebral cavernous malformations arise from endothelial gain of MEKK3-KLF2/4 signalling.

    Nature 2016 Apr 07

    Authors: Zhou Z, Tang AT, Wong WY, Bamezai S, Goddard LM, Shenkar R, Zhou S, Yang J, Wright AC, Foley M, Arthur JS, Whitehead KJ, Awad IA, Li DY
    Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are common inherited and sporadic vascular malformations that cause strokes and seizures in younger individuals. CCMs arise from endothelial cell loss of KRIT1, CCM2 or PDCD10, non-homologous proteins that form an adaptor complex. How disruption of the CCM complex results in disease remains controversial, with numerous signalling pathways (including Rho, SMAD and Wnt/β-catenin) and processes such as endothelial-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) proposed to have causal roles. CCM2 binds to MEKK3 (refs 7, 8, 9, 10, 11), and we have recently shown that CCM complex regulation of MEKK3 is essential during vertebrate heart development. Here we investigate this mechanism in CCM disease pathogenesis. Using a neonatal mouse model of CCM disease, we show that expression of the MEKK3 target genes Klf2 and Klf4, as well as Rho and ADAMTS protease activity, are increased in the endothelial cells of early CCM lesions. By contrast, we find no evidence of EndMT or increased SMAD or Wnt signalling during early CCM formation. Endothelial-specific loss of Map3k3 (also known as Mekk3), Klf2 or Klf4 markedly prevents lesion formation, reverses the increase in Rho activity, and rescues lethality. Consistent with these findings in mice, we show that endothelial expression of KLF2 and KLF4 is increased in human familial and sporadic CCM lesions, and that a disease-causing human CCM2 mutation abrogates the MEKK3 interaction without affecting CCM complex formation. These studies identify gain of MEKK3 signalling and KLF2/4 function as causal mechanisms for CCM pathogenesis that may be targeted to develop new CCM therapeutics.
    PMID: 27027284 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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